As a child, my main goals in life were to become a basketball player in the WNBA, a world class attorney, and own/operate my own business. Needless to say, I’m not out shooting hoops, nor did I attend law school; but, I did stick to my entrepreneurship goal. Unlike what many people may say, entrepreneurship is no trip in the park. It requires commitment, blood, sweat and tears. Your strength will be put to the ultimate test, and not many people reach the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve taken big risks, big wins, and big losses; and I will tell you, mistakes are inevitable. But, just because they’re inevitable doesn’t mean you have to make them too. Below, I highlight 5 mistakes I’ve made (and learned from) in this world of entrepreneurship.
I almost quit
Regardless of what anyone tells you, entrepreneurship is not easy. There is lots of uncertainty, sacrifice, late nights, early morning, and people that don’t believe in your vision. The thing about quitting- it’s easy to do. It’s easy to get discouraged when you’ve been putting in hours day after day, and not see your bank account grow. It’s easy to make excuses when times get tough, and the fear starts to set in. It’s easy to allow others to convince you that the journey you’re on isn’t with the travel.
My friend, anyone can quit. Not everyone has the guts to stand up against adversity and thrive. It will take passion, commitment, and resilience. But, if you stay and keep riding the waves, your confidence will develop, your bank account will grow, and your dreams will manifest right before your eyes.
Taking advice from the wrong people
I don’t know about you, but I get a lot of unsolicited advice from people all the time-from parenting to relationships to business.
As an entrepreneur, most times you’re entering a new season in your life, and that comes with questions that need answers and clarity. While I do believe a little helpful advice can go a long way, bad advice is worse than no advice at all.
I respect all perspectives, but it was mentally and emotionally draining listening to various opinions that conflicted with my overall goals and beliefs, which resulted in a dip in my business’s bottom line.
That’s when I knew something had to give.
Don’t get me wrong, just because I don’t agree doesn’t mean they are wrong or right. It simply means that I couldn’t listen to them AND grow a successful company.
Now, I only take advice from people that are qualified, competent, and have established the life I want to have.
Not asking for help
When I started my company, I was sure I knew everything there was about running a business (until I got started). Entrepreneurs wear many hats- sales, marketing, product/service development, customer service, accounting, and so much more! Thanks to my corporate experience and Network Marketing experience, I had the cornerstone skills I needed to survive; but, when it was time to grow and scale? Completely different concept…
When I decided I wanted to take my company to a multiple six-figure status, I realized I would need a lot of help. I couldn’t do everything. Even though I was burnt out, juggling hundreds of clients and a family, my inability to ask for help was really stunting the my personal and business growth.
I realized I had to put on my real leadership hat, develop a winning team that is passionate about the company’s goals, and create an environment we could all thrive in.
I’ll tell ya,
Asking for help was my hardest lesson, but also my most rewarding.
The disease to please
If you struggle with where, when, and how to draw the line between your own desires and the demands of others, you are not alone. I constantly battle with being a people pleaser, and saying yes when I want to say no. Many entrepreneurs naturally suffer from this because they are service-driven people. They want to see other’s win, and reach their fullest potential.
But, you know what? It’s toxic.
You may think you’re making other people happy, but what you’re actually doing is making yourself feel miserable and inadequate. In fact, this nasty habit can give other’s the impression that they can treat you like a doormat. ::sigh::
I’ve been walked on, stepped over, and treated like I was the problem because I because I didn’t have it in my heart to say “no.”
Until….. I said it one day.
It was the most liberating experience to say that two-letter word. It felt good to stay true to myself and my goals, and not giving a damn what anyone though about it.
It set me free to do what I was truly called to do on this earth.
Not managing my daily activities.
When I quit my full-time job to become an entrpreneur, I suddenly had too much time on my hands and I didn’t know how to manage it. As an entrepreneur, managing your time and daily activities is the life (and death) of your business. If you’re filling your time with tasks that aren’t making you happy or adding to your bottom line, you’re spinning your wheels into business failure.
Whether it’s researching, planning, thinking, etc.; it’s extremely easy to find yourself wasting time doing “stuff”. But, eventually I had to ask myself, “Is this producing results? Is this activity going to add value to someone’s life? Is this going to help me get one step closer to my ultimate goal(s)?”
If the answer to any of those questions are “no’, I very seldom ever spend time on it.
Now, my schedule is crammed from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep. Every single minute is accounted for.
A Lesson Learned
Mistakes are a part of an entrepreneur’s life. There will be much trial and error while you’re trying to figure it all out. But, don’t let that discourage you from going after your dreams. I’ve learned through this journey that anything is attainable as long as you keep redirecting yourself after every learning lesson (mistake).
Always remember- if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Go be great!